big four banks

The humiliating about-face forced on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when he announced a royal commission into the banking and financial sectors on November 30 could be the beginning of the end for the Coalition government.

Finance industry workers are facing increasing pressure as banks seek to maximise their already hefty profits. Our jobs are becoming increasingly precarious, and all the while our wages and conditions are being threatened with cuts.

These days, if you walk into a bank, you’ll find very few staff and a lot of ATMs, which not only give cash but do almost everything a teller can do. You will also find a concierge, whose job is to shift customers to self-service via online banking. Tellers have performance targets for shifting customers online.

It seems that every other month we have another parliamentary inquiry into the banks. With so many regular appearances you’d think it would start to get boring.

Ahead of to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, Australia’s Big Four banks made public commitments to take action on climate change.

The Big Four banks have abolished fees on “foreign” automatic teller machines (ATM) withdrawals as part of a public relations ploy to head off a royal commission into their financial scandals.

The Commonwealth Bank announced on September 24 it was scrapping ATM fees on withdrawals by customers of other banks. This was immediately followed by ANZ, the National Australia Bank and Westpac.

Australia's four big banks plus AMP are ripping off the country's workers with huge fees charged on their superannuation investments, a recent study has revealed.

New research carried out by Rainmaker for Industry Super Australia, a mainly union-backed body, shows that the retail super funds, largely operated by the big banks, absorb about half of all fees charged in the superannuation system, despite holding only 29% of retirement savings.

Chairperson of the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) Wayne Byres recently said that he would not use the “B-word” to describe the housing market, preferring instead to use “heightened risk” rather than housing bubble.

The appointment of former Queensland Labor premier Anna Bligh as CEO of the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) is a desperate public relations ploy by the Big Four Australian banks to head off a looming royal commission into their crimes and misdeeds.

It seems unlikely to succeed, given the anger in the community against the Big Four — the Commonwealth, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ — and their systematic gouging of the general public.

Australia's Big Four banks — the Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and Westpac — are the most concentrated and profitable set of banks in the world. These mega-banks are cutting their workforces, while paying their executives huge salaries and bonuses. They should be placed in public hands.

When then-Minister for the Environment and Water Tony Burke signed over more than 1500 hectares of native vegetation, including endangered woodlands, to Whitehaven Coal in 2013, he did so amid contention and uncertainty. It would not go unchallenged.

Today, a parapet of accumulated earth protrudes from the Leard State Forest. The Maules Creek open-cut coalmine is now fully operational. But when exploitation ceases, the crater left in the mine's place will not be filled for centuries.

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